|Name:||General German Industrial exhibition|
The history of the Leipzig fairs goes back to the Middle Ages. A fair held at Leipzig is first mentioned in 1165. Otto the Rich, Margrave of Meissen provided the Leipzig fairs with his protection.
This expanded to two annual Leipzig fairs at Jubilate and Michaelis. Frederick II of Saxony in 1458 established a third fair in Leipzig, the New Year’s Fair.
In 1497, Maximilian I (from 1508 Emperor) confirmed all three Leipzig fairs (New Year, Jubilate, Michaelis) and provided his seigneurial protection, including a ban of establishing more fairs in the neighboring dioceses of Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Meissen, Merseburg and Naumburg.
In 1507 Maximilian I further banned any fairs within a 15-mile radius around Leipzig and confirmed its staple rights and extended the protection for the merchants while on their way to the Leipzig fairs.
By the 18th century, Leipzig had became a key centre for trade with Russian, Polish and English goods and became known as ‘the marketplace of all Europe’.
In 1895, the first commercial-samples fair was held in Leipzig. Between 1893 and 1938 a number of fair-houses (Messe-Häuser) were built in the center of Leipzig, usually containing several interconnected courtyards with shops, storage areas, and living space. Leipzig progressively became the main German fair for books and consumer goods.
Leipzig Fair, 1948 postage stamp
Leipzig Fair, 1949 postage stamp
As part of East Germany, the Leipzig Trade Fair became one of the most important trade fairs of Comecon and became a meeting place for businessmen and politicians from both sides of the Iron Curtain.
New Leipzig fairgrounds were built in 1966, consising of six halls: five exhibition halls each of 20,000 sq m (220,000 sq ft), and the world’s largest levitated glass hall, designed by Ian Ritchie Architects. It is about seven kilometres (4.3m) north of the city centre.